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MACHU PICCHU and (for now) the final drive.. to Lima

Written on: Tuesday July 22nd, 2008


Our tour van was late, once on the road Freddy our driver stopped at a strange kind of drive through phone"box". A lady at the side of the road with a few mobiles hanging from neckholders. He pulled up, told her the number, she quickly dialled and handed it to him. Seconds later he sped off. We dropped some money off to his wife and then.. we actually hit the road. Freddy was the perfect kind of driver. Fast & safe, but mainly fast. Driving these roads for 5 years with tourists and rally driving in his own time. Its a nice change to sit back and let someone else do the driving. The mini bus was new but there was something wrong with a sensor and we had a ringing bell going off the whole way and back.. hours of ipod drowned that out. After 6 hours in the bus with stunning scenery and a waterfall coming out of pure rock we switched to a train for the last hour. That night we soaked in the thermal pools of Agua Calientes. After a discussion about who'd get out and get the beers we saw a sign saying "just wave and we will come down from the bar". Great idea, but there was lots of animated waiving before we saw any beers.

Alarm went off at 3:15. We walked for about an hour and a half straight up hundreds and hundreds of steps to Machu Picchua and waited for it to open. We were early, before any buses shuttled people up. Once in we had to hurry across to Waynapicchu the mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu means old mountain and Waynapicchu means young mountain. Waynapicchu is where the high priest of the city lived. There are only 400 people allowed up a day. We all were within the first 25. I raced up to the top get more time there. I was the first to the top. I had it all to myself, purched on the highest rock looking down on Machu Picchu and the surrounding valley.

LINK : http://youtube.com/watch?v=ISWJ7wp9P78

Once down we had to join the tour with explanations, but mostly archaeological analysis. Lily and myself left the tour early and enjoyed chilling on the grass. Then back to get the bus down to town and the train back to the place where our bus is waiting. Im typing this as we ride along in the train on lilys laptop. The train stopped a few times and went backwards and then at one point they stopped to separate some carriages. In the van the cops stopped us both on the way and on the way back, Freddy said that the big companies don't like the minivan crews taking their business and that is why the cops bother him.

In Cusco we had one day more to chill out before we headed to Lima. We went out for some final drinks with Arthur to Paddy O Flattery's and had beers and a GREAT Shepards pie, probably the best ever, and their breakfast isn't bad either. The next day I headed off at 8am. I had about 1200km's to do in two days. Peadar had to leave his bike in Cusco. When we were on our way to Cusco he had problems. The bike was running out of power, it just wouldn't go with the lights on. The last hour or two before arriving into Cusco had Peadar following my headlights with my headtourch stuck to his visor. His voltage regulator/rectifier was dead. He'll get a new one in San Fran. The first 3 hours out of Cusco were up, up, up, then down, down, down through the high mountains...slow into the Hairpin bends, out and accelerate ...brakes, gear down, into hairpin, out and accelerate... and on and on. Slow going. Finally I was on the bottom of the mountains. I was cruising along weaving around the bottom of the valleys for a few more hours at a good speed with nice corners, perfect, then up and over more mountains and back to the hairpins. By 5 that night I had gotten to the final town before Nasca. this would have been the halfway point to Lima but I wanted to be closer. Tomorrow was my last day before the flight, I didn't wanna be cutting it too close. The next three hours of hairpins by night went slowly by and after 13 hours and 600 or so k's I was ready for bed. The next day I headed off early with just 6 hours of riding to go to Lima. I stopped to see the Nasca lines, ancient lines drawn in the desert. i didnt have the time to take a flight so I just saw one or two on the drawings from a viewing tower. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazca_lines ) Something terrible happened when I stopped, as I was steadying the bike the handlebars crushed my Ipod in the jacket pocket. I mean it just leaned into the pocket a bit but.. It is now dead. D E A D. Horrible horrible stuff. I will be buying a new one. Its part of the holy three, (not in a sacrilegious way) - Passport - Camera - Ipod. The three that must be replaced if lost or broken. Anyway on I went. long straight desert roads now and on and on I went. I saw a huge truck overturned. Another cow in the road incident. On I went without incident until the town of Ica. There was a huge traffic jams far as I could see. A 4x4 pulled out into the opposite lane and I was straight in behind him. We overtook for miles.. hundreds of trucks and buses. Occasionally getting out of the way of oncoming cars. At the front of the traffic jam I could see there had been some sort of riots. I drove on by myself through the carless road avoiding all the rocks and junk in the road. I eventually got to where riot police had blocked off the road, The road to Lima. I pulled in on the path and talked to them. I could not go past ..."in an hour you can" said one of them. I took some photos a waited. An hour could be anytime in the future of the entire world I thought. I talked to some other people and I gathered that people had rioted over some kid that was killed. If my Spanish was better I might have found out more. i was told by some lad to just go on. I turned the bike round, quietly got on, quickly started it and drove right past the cops that told me to wait. They were hardly gonna be bothered running after little old me. I drove for Id say 6 more k's avoiding rocks, burning tyres and smiling at random people who looked like they might be angry. It would have taken a hell of a lot longer than an hour to clear up this mess.
After this town on my left I saw the mighty white waves of the Pacific crashing onto the beach and to my right the biggest sand dunes i have ever seen. A few hours later I was in Lima. For about 30 mins I was escorted around the city by a random guy in a merc who wanted to help me find where I was going. I parked the bike in Roderigo's house, a guy I had contacted through www.horizionsunlimited.com about storing the bike. That night I went out for a final meal with lily, she is travelling for about a month more. We had some great sushi, followed by a quick 30 minutes loosing our money in the casino. Later that night we got a taxi to the airport to leave South America ......but we will be back for more motorbiking adventure on the 8th of October.

After getting through immigration (just a holiday, sure!! ; ) Mu HA-HA-HA-HA) and so on...we met Saul in the BART (like the dart) station and went back to his place. our new home for the next 10 weeks. Some beers and a party in a crazy loft apartment of a friend was to be our first night in the good ol US of A. Soon we were working hard and a weekend drinking quality beers.

Earning Dollar dollar bills Y'all !!

budget monday. . . . .sure


From Awn on Jul 28th, 2008

Awww-Bye Mr I-Pod,u will be sadly missed!!Great life was had tho:) Hello San Fran,golden gate bridge,corn dogs n pretzels.....enjoy x

From flood on Jul 30th, 2008

hey man, typing this from singapore. Just dont 2 weeks in borneo and loved it. Class pics. Will send an email with pics of trip so far so you can have a gander at it. Also every internet cafe i have been in over i have added your footstops pages to the favourites on the browser so your stories are being read by people from afar. Glad to hear all good. Aslo just saw the new batman. AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING FLICK

From Ciara Flood on Aug 7th, 2008

Hey there! Met up with Mark Philips recently and he told me about your travels so had to have a wee nose at it all...looks like you're having a fantastic time! Very jealous. Have been meaning to plan a trip to South America for a while now but reckon I won't be so adventurous as to do it on a bike (the one and only time I rode one I crashed the thing after less than 10 seconds). Say hi to Peadar and hope you guys continue to have a great trip. x